Created By: Rethkir on April 14, 2013 Last Edited By: Rethkir on April 17, 2013
Nuked

Ripped Reveal

Normal/meek-looking guy is reveled to have six-pack abs

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Trope
So, there's this character who appears to be nothing out of the ordinary. He seems like an average normal guy, and doesn't seem to be particularly strong. He might even look frail or appear to be out of shape. You decide to fight him because you figure he'd be pretty easy to beat. But then he takes his shirt off, and it's revealed that he's completely ripped with steel six-pack abs. It turns out that harmless-looking guy is a badass, and he can kick some serious ass. Usually played for laughs, but can also be added for oh-crap. Can overlap with Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass, but the character does not have to be a moron, just to appear weak at first glance.


Examples

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • In the Silver Age version of Superman, on one occasion when Lois Lane and Clark Kent were at the beach, Lois marveled that she'd had no idea how muscular Clark was.

Film
  • In Kung Fu Hustle, Sing tries to find one of the villagers that would be easy enough to fight. He calls on a nerdy old guy with glasses. When he steps forward, he's revealed to have a hulking upper body.
  • Spider-Man flips the order of occurrence after Peter gets bitten by the spider. He is very surprised to go to sleep feeling sick and wake up with upper body strength and a six-pack. The jock he clobbers later with his new powers is even more surprised.

Literature
  • In the childrens' book Black and Blue Magic a summer of having wings & using them nightly fills out young Harry Houdini Marco's chest & ab muscles, which he doesn't notice until someone [his mother? I forget] points it out.
  • Belgarath of the Belgariad has the appearance of an old man in tattered rags who avoids work at all costs and spends his spare time in a state of drunken carouse. To boot, he's a sorcerer, so you might expect him to be a Squishy Wizard. But when he takes off his shirt to swim in the Malloreon, he's revealed to have a fine physique. There's justification here, since sorcerers are Voluntary Shapeshifters, and are implied to age according to their self-image: Belgarath looks old because it makes him venerable, but that's no reason for him to be feeble.

Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • King Bumi. Aang challenges him because he looks like a feeble old man, until he takes his shirt off.
    • Iroh has this as well after working out in prison. The trope image for Prisons Are Gymnasiums is a great example of this.
  • Powerpuff Girls. This happens to the mayor of Townsville in "Impeach Fuzz" when Fuzzy Lumpkins pushes his Berserk Button. It doesn't last, but it's still pretty awesome.
  • Despite his meek appearance, Ned Flanders in The Simpsons has a perfectly toned body when he takes his shirt off. In a more recent episode, he is seen effortlessly subduing a much larger bodybuilder.
    • Groundskeeper Willie also doesn't look like much, until you see him without a shirt. He once wrestled a wolf and beat it. A wolf!
  • In the Futurama episode "Parasites Lost," parasitic worms have strengthened Fry's body, which is revealed when he rips his shirt off to fight Sal, who's bulging with what could be muscles.
  • Similar to the Kung Fu Hustle example above, in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Dragon Quest" Spike challenges a seemingly weak dragon to a tail wrestling contest, only for it to be revealed that he has a freakishly gargantuan tail. Although this example doesn't use abs, it's still the same concept.

Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • April 14, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In the childrens' book Black and Blue Magic a summer of having wings & using them nightly fills out young Harry Houdini Marco's chest & ab muscles, which he doesn't notice until someone [his mother? I forget] points it out.
  • April 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Anime And Manga
  • April 15, 2013
    StarSword
    Film:
    • Spider-Man flips the order of occurrence after Peter gets bitten by the spider. He is very surprised to go to sleep feeling sick and wake up with upper body strength and a six-pack. The jock he clobbers later with his new powers is even more surprised.
  • April 15, 2013
    robinjohnson
    • Flanders in The Simpsons has a perfectly toned body when he takes his shirt off.
  • April 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Those The Simpsons examples need context. Now you can't tell why it's unexpected for those characters to have muscular bodies.
  • April 16, 2013
    Stratadrake
    Any alternative titles? Every time I see "ripped" I constantly think ripped and not ripped.
  • April 16, 2013
    Lumpenprole
    In the Silver Age version of Superman, on one occasion when Lois Lane and Clark Kent were at the beach, Lois marveled that she'd had no idea how muscular Clark was.
  • April 16, 2013
    Generality
    Belgarath of the Belgariad has the appearance of an old man in tattered rags who avoids work at all costs and spends his spare time in a state of drunken carouse. To boot, he's a sorcerer, so you might expect him to be a Squishy Wizard. But when he takes off his shirt to swim in the Malloreon, he's revealed to have a fine physique. There's justification here, since sorcerers are Voluntary Shapeshifters, and are implied to age according to their self-image: Belgarath looks old because it makes him venerable, but that's no reason for him to be feeble.

    The Powerpuff Girls example is more a case of Hulking Out, I think. I don't think the mayor is normally that muscular.
  • April 16, 2013
    Rethkir
    I thought of some other names. Please let me know if you like any of these or have another name in mind:

    Ripped Ribs Reveal (for Added Alliterative Appeal), Stronger Than He Looks (probably too similar to Muscles Are Meaningless), Hidden Hulk, Not-so-Meek Physique (The rhyme is catchy), Secret Strength.

    If anyone has other ideas, please feel free to let me know.

    As far as the mayor of Townsville example, I agree that should go under Hulking Out. I will add him right under Fuzzy Lumpkins.

    I will also add a better description for The Simpsons examples.

  • April 16, 2013
    Hodor
    Clark Kent Outfit is the trope- although, it could perhaps use a different/alternative name.
  • April 16, 2013
    lexicon
    Yup. Looks like the same thing. I guess all the examples from here should be moved onto that page. It can use a different name like Hidden Hulk and different indexes.
  • April 17, 2013
    GoopsWorld
    In the Fry Cook Games episode of Spongebob Squarepants, Spongebob and Patrick prepare for their wrestling match by ripping off their suits, revealing HUGE muscles and abs.
  • April 17, 2013
    Rethkir
    Yeah, this is definitely Clark Kent Outfit, but I could never find it. I was searching for this trope to make sure I wasn't making one that already existed. I think we should add that page to some more indexes. It should also be linked to other pages such as Muscles Are Meaningless (where the only difference is that they can't be seen when clothed) Heroic Build, and compare and contrast with Hulking Out.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=u6wwx24a0y1640u84lonb7l3&trope=DiscardedYKTTW